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Unclaimed 5% discounts for senior citizens

/ 12:04 AM April 24, 2015

With the rising cost of electricity and water services, the close to seven million Filipino senior citizens should now be more vigilant in asserting their rights under the law.

Section 4(c) of Republic Act No. 9994 (Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010) gives senior citizens a minimum 5-percent discount on their monthly electricity and water charges, provided the individual meters are registered in the name of the senior citizen residing in the house and the monthly consumption does not exceed 100 kWh (electricity) and 30 cubic meters (water).

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Experience shows, however, that most of our senior citizens are not aware of this benefit or the law is not properly implemented. And because it appears that the amount of monthly discount is negligible or not worth the hassle of claiming, most senior citizens do not bother about it.

But look how much could be generated if all unclaimed senior citizens’ discounts on these two services alone are pooled. Under the existing power rates of P11 per kWh, a consumption of 100 kWh per month will cost P1,100; 5 percent thereof means P55 per month. On the other hand, the cost of 30 cubic meters of water under the progressive rate of Maynilad is P1,700; 5 percent thereof means P85 per month.

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Let’s say, out of the seven million senior citizens at present, only 100,000 senior citizens have electric meters and 50,000 have water meters individually registered in their names (this is a very conservative estimate). That’s P5.5 million a month, or a total of P66 million a year, from electricity alone. From water, that’s P4.25 million a month or a total of P51 million a year. Or P117 million (P66 million + P51 million) a year. Managed by competent and credible managers, P117 million a year can surely build a lot of homes for the aged and the homeless, complete with all the much-needed facilities and regular and sufficient supply of food and medicines. With P117 million a year, imagine how much fund the senior citizens can raise for their needs in the remaining years of their life. And even if only one-half of this amount, or P58.5 million a year, will be pooled together, we can practically build medical facilities or houses for indigent senior citizens almost every year.

Thus, I would like to call on all our senior citizens to claim these senior citizen discounts and pool them in a common fund by executing a waiver and place this under the management of an able, credible, trusted manager like a Manny V. Pangilinan. Thus, we can look forward to a brighter and happier group of Filipino senior citizens with a common cause.

—ROMULO B. MACALINTAL, advocate for rights of senior citizens, Las Piñas City

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TAGS: benefits, discounts, Manny V. Pangilinan, Senior citizens
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